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The Place of Law In National Development

Telecommunications: The success of the Telecoms sector privatization is one major result of legal reforms, which has boosted national development substantially in Nigeria. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Act of 2003, which repealed and replaced the NCC Act No. 75 of 1992 and the NCC (Amendment) Act No. 30 of 1998, provides for the licensing of private investors into the telecoms business which under the old Act; had been operated as a monopolistic public utility. The liberalization of this sector led to a revolution which has seen private telephone operators providing up to 120 million mobile lines to the public between 2001 and 2014. Telecoms services contributed 8.69 percent of the 2013 rebased GDP figure of $510 billion.

Power Sector: The unbundling of the giant inefficient power utility known as NEPA, first through PHCN as a special purpose vehicle, into several privately owned Generation and Distribution Companies (GENCOs & DISCOs) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria; was made possible by law reforms. The Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 repealed and replaced the old NEPA Act, and set the legal framework for the power privatization and the resultant inflow of private capital from local and foreign sources, to improving the sector.

Export Promotion: The Nigerian Export Processing Zones Act No. 63 of 1992 (NEPZA Act) and the regulation issued pursuant to it – Investment Procedures, Regulations and Operational Guidelines for Free Zones in Nigeria 2004 – were enacted to promote companies which locate their businesses in the Free Trade Zones (FTZ). Levies, duties, and foreign exchange regulations do not affect operators in these zones while certain tax exemptions with duty-free export of material inputs are also enjoyed within the zones.

Investment Promotion: The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act (NIPC Act) of 1995 promotes industrial and enterprise activities in Nigeria. Tax holidays, especially pioneer status-related exemptions, are enjoyed by businesses which are into infrastructure development ventures and transfer of special foreign technologies into the country. There are other incentives under the NIPC Act such as guarantee for repatriation of dividends and profits for foreign investors, as well as protection of private enterprises from expropriation by the government.


Law reforms are also liberalizing other sectors and enhancing public private partnership (PPP) in almost all the areas of our national economy. For example, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Act of 2005 provides the framework for concession contracts between the Federal Government and private investors; for the development of public infrastructure. Much of the wide infrastructure gap in Nigeria has been plugged through concession agreements at federal and state levels in the country. Other aspects of our national development plan, such as mortgage refinancing; agriculture; education; transport; banking, insurance and capital market; oil & gas; commercial arbitration & litigation etc. are equally being revitalized through law reforms. 6 Without the various laws and regulations that back up the various policy reforms and national development plans, there would have been little or no result which personal wishful thinking or national ethical values could produce. The place of law in national development is so crucial that it will continue to attract the attention of scholars, professionals and policy leaders globally.

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